What is maskne?

Maskne was virtually unheard of before the pandemic. Now that everyone is wearing masks everyday though, our skin is showing signs of stress! Maskne's technical name is Acne Mechanics, and it is is caused by friction from the rubbing of face masks and/or face shields against our skin. This causes congested pores that may erupt in small whiteheads, blackheads, or even cystic acne. The situation is usually worsened when dirt, oil, and sweat are trapped in or near our skin. 
How can we solve maskne? According to dermatologist Dr. Nikki Paderna in her Project Vanity article, you can do the following to help ease maskne:
  1. Wash your face. Make sure to cleanse your face twice a day with a mild cleanser. And as soon as you get home and take off the mask, it is very important that you remove the sweat, oil and dirt that was trapped on your skin.

  2. Apply a moisturizer after washing your face. Not only will using the right moisturizer reduce skin irritation before wearing a mask but it will also help maintain a healthy skin barrier. Choose a moisturizer too that’s suited to your skin type.

  3. Don’t overload your skin with new skincare. Just because you’re breaking out doesn’t mean your skin needs more. It may even be the culprit behind your new-onset acne. Your skin can easily become irritated when you add more steps and actives to your routine.

  4. Avoid wearing makeup underneath your mask. Makeup worn under masks can further contribute to clogged pores. However, if you’re really adamant about wearing them, then I advise that you at least put on the bare minimum. 

  5. Wear the right mask. When it comes to masks, choose something that fits you comfortably, not too tight and not too loose. If you’re using the single-use surgical masks, dispose of them as soon as you’re done and wear a new one the next day. If you choose a reusable, fabric mask, wash it every day. Remember that masks trap dirt, sweat and oil. Even if you cleanse your face properly, reusing a dirty mask will just bring all of them back to your skin.

  6. Consult with a dermatologist. There are some cases of acne mechanica that may be severe enough to warrant an over-the-counter medication or products to treat acne like hydroxy acids. In cases like these, it is best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to advise you of how frequent these medications will be applied/taken.

We hope these tips help!